The Grameen Bank's success in lending to microenterprises, and particularly women, using solidarity groups, is well known. Attempts have been made to replicate the model outside Bangladesh, and much of this work taking place in rural African and Asian projects has been written about before. This article describes urban solidarity-group lending in Latin America, and evaluates the success of such attempts in terms of project efficiency and of benefits to the borrowers. The evidence is that a number of long-standing micro-lending projects have achieved reasonable efficiency levels, even though evidence of changes brought about by the loans in the borrowers' enterprises is difficult to come by, and suggests quite modest improvements.
The products of informal sector manufacturers are commonly thought to be suitable for consumers in developing countries on account of their low price and simplicity: they represent 'quality for the poor' rather than 'poor quality'. This article questions this assumption, and by surveying middle-class and poor consumers in Nairobi it reveals that typical informal sector products are regarded as of inferior quality and often more unreliable than imported or mass-produced goods. Clearly there will need to be significant improvements in design and production if informal sector products are to continue selling on domestic markets, let alone internationally.